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OSHA: Lack of PPE and Training Cost Electrical Technician His Life

May 19, 2015
OSHA cited Ferro Magnetics for one willful, 14 serious safety violations.

According to OSHA, in November 2014, Marreo Travis, the father of a young daughter, was testing transformers when he was electrocuted. He was rushed to the hospital, but did not survive.

OSHA investigators found that Travis’ death might have been prevented if his employer, Ferro Magnetics Corp., had supplied adequate personal protective equipment, followed safety procedures and provided training.

“In seconds, a family was altered forever, and a young girl is now fatherless,” said Bill McDonald, OSHA’s area director in St. Louis. “Companies that operate with high-voltage electricity must train workers to recognize hazards and use proper procedures to prevent electrical shock. No one should die on-the-job.”

Ferro Magnetics was cited for one willful and 14 serious safety violations. In its inspection, OSHA found multiple electrical safety hazards; machines with moving parts without safety guards; and inadequate protections to stop machine starts during service and maintenance. Inspectors also found that appropriate personal protective equipment was not supplied by the company. Additionally, hazardous chemicals were stored improperly and employees were allowed to use damaged powered industrial trucks.

In 2013, there were 71 worker fatalities due to electrocution, and 29 CFR 1910.305, OSHA’s electrical standard, is one of the top ten most frequently violated OSHA standards. In one of the citations against Ferro Magnetics, OSHA noted, “The employer did not assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, which necessitate the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).”

OSHA also said that Ferro Magnetics “did not establish a program consisting of energy control procedures, employee training and periodic inspections to ensure that before any employee performs any servicing or maintenance on a machine or equipment where the unexpected energizing, startup or release of stored energy could occur and cause injury, the machine or equipment was not isolated from the energy source and rendered inoperative.”

Said McDonald: “Ferro Magnetics must act now to train its workers, so that another family does not suffer.”

The company faces penalties of $106,400.

Bridgeton, Mo.-based Ferro Magnetics sells its chargers nationwide for use in many industries. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with McDonald or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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